Biotech Updates

New Path to Water Efficient Seeds Opens with TIP

February 25, 2011

In search of strategies to create drought resistance and water use efficiency in crops, researchers have studied members of the large family of ‘Major Intrinsic Proteins", which are known to act as water channels in plants. ‘Tonoplast Intrinsic Proteins' or TIPS has recently been found to be the likely candidate which govern water transport in plants.

Researchers at University of Warwick's School of Life Sciences led by Dr. Lorenzo Frigerio studied both the ‘Plasma Membrane Intrinsic Proteins' (PIPs) and TIPs. They found that out of the 13 Arabidopsis PIPs, only three were detectable in seeds 60 hours after germination. In contrast, a very high level of TIP3 protein was present in the plasma membrane during seed development and germination.

The research published in the Molecular Plant Journal hypothesized that "besides residing in the tonoplast, TIP3 is recruited to the plasma membrane to compensate for the absence (or very low concentration) of PIP" to perform the important function of gatewater keeper into and out of cells.

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